There has been lots of buzz surrounding the Firefox OS, as many companies are trying to not exclusively do business with Google. There are 3 current generation phones that run Mozillas mobile operating system. They all suffer from really small screens and abysmal resolution. Is there a future for Firefox OS, or is it a flash in the pan? Today, we look at the ZTE Open, to evaluate the phone and how it performs.
The ZTE Open was the first Firefox phone to become available. There are two more companies entering the fray, LG and Alcatel. The ZTE Open features a 3.5 inch touchscreen display with a woeful 320 x 480 resolution. It is powered by a single core 1 GHZ processor and has 120 MB of memory, when you take it out of the box. You can also elect to snap some selfies with the 3 MP rear facing camera.
The design of the phone has a rectangular shape, but it has very rounded corners and a tapered front which gives you better and easier access to the home button. The home button is the only physical key on the entire phone. Other ports include, headphone jack and Micro USB port. Battery Life is around 7 hours via the 1,200mAh battery.
You will need an SD card to do anything on this phone. You cannot even use the music, videos or photo apps without one. The internal memory is relegated to apps that you can install from the Firefox App Market. Most of this games are super small, due to the HTML5 nature.
The hardware on the ZTE Open is lacking tremendously. This seems to be the theme so far with all of the Firefox phones. Only LG offers a four inch screen, while ZTE and Alcatel offer 3.5 inch ones. I found it is too small to do anything of note, including reading eBooks or PDF. Who knows why they all elected to make really small phones, maybe to keep the price down? Mainly its the emerging market, with the phone and app market now available in nine different countries.
In the videos below, we give you an unboxing, review of the phone and complete OS review. You can get a sense on exactly what this device brings to the table and if its a phone you should consider buying.
My recommendation? The only people who should care about this phone are people who want neat stuff no one else has, or a beggar on the streets. The OS is not ready for prime time, it is lacking with content and crappy specced phones. It is marketed as a cheap and cheerful device, but the OS does not have a ton of developer support. By contrast, Blackberry World is an awesome ecosystem compared to Firefox, and that is saying a lot!
Michael Kozlowski is the Editor in Chief of Good e-Reader. He has been writing about audiobooks and e-readers for the past ten years. His articles have been picked up by major and local news sources and websites such as the CBC, CNET, Engadget, Huffington Post and the New York Times.